Finally, vegan athletes are becoming more mainstream. You certainly hear a lot more about them which I think is GREAT. The reality is that you can be just as strong, more fit and faster with a plant based lifestyle.
I realize that I've only been running for a few months, but I know that in order to be my best at it I need to fuel my body in the right way. I have always loved the Vega line developed by Brendan Brazier a vegan professional Ironman triathlete and best-selling author on plant-based nutrition. I found out about it shortly after going vegan because I needed something portable that I could take with me when I travel for work. So I started with the Vega Whole Food Optimizer (now reformulated and called Vega One). It's easy to take a bag of the powder with me in my suitcase, along with my magic bullet blender and make a quick Vega shake in the morning. My go to when I travel is usually the chocolate one blended with water and a banana. If I'm in a hotel where I have a mini-fridge then I usually make raw almond milk first and use that instead of water. Works great for my breakfast and keeps me full until lunch. Berry is my other go to flavor and if I actually have a hotel room with a little kitchenette, I'll use that one instead. I always do Berry in my green smoothies, so it's my most frequently used Vega product.
Once I decided that I loved running, I knew I had to find something that would give me energy before my runs, keep me going during my runs and then help me recover properly after a run. Granted, my runs so far haven't been really long, but they are getting longer as I train for a half marathon. I know that keeping my body fueled will be a huge help while running and also in the recovery phase. And the VegaSport line also works great for my TurboFire HIIT workouts and strength training.
Last year, Vega redesigned their VegaSport line and I knew I had to try it since I am a total devotee to the Vega line. So I got my first few items and started to try them out. So here's my review of the items I have used. The VegaSport line is broken in to 3 groups - prepare - sustain - recover.
Pre-workout Energizer: Love this one. It's a powder that comes in two flavors (lemon-lime and acai berry). I got the lemon lime one, haven't tried the acai berry yet. Great taste. You simply mix a scoop with 8 ounces of cold water and drink it 20 minutes before your workout. I love this product. My preferred running time is in the morning so for runs that are less than 3-4 miles, this gets me ready and keeps me going during my run. If I have a longer run, I usually do a small smoothie about an hour before I run and tend to use one modified from Brendan's book, Thrive Fitness (usually a 1/2 scoop of VegaOne with 10 ounces water, plus 1/2 cup frozen blueberries and 1/2 banana) that tends to fuel me up for a longer run. Then I sometimes do the Pre-workout energizer 20 minutes before Roxy (my free personal trainer, running buddy and superstar dog!) and I leave the house.
Three products in this line and yep, I have tried them all. Used them on my longer runs where I feel like I need a bit of fuel to keep myself going. I know I'll be using them on my upcoming 8K, quarter marathon and half marathon.
Electrolyte Hydrator: This is cool because it's a healthy hydrator, NOT a sugar laden or artificial sweetener filled sports drink that does more harm than good. Two flavors - lemon-lime and pom berry. Haven't tried the pom-berry yet, but I like the lemon-lime, although I tend to dilute it out a bit more than it says to. You just mix it with water, stick it in your water bottle and off you go.
Endurance Bar: Although my longest run so far has been 5 miles, I have tried this because I want to see how it works with my runs so I know if it'll be something I can use during a longer run. Again, two flavors - mocha and acai-berry. Of course, I'm never one to pass up anything called mocha so that's the flavor I chose first. I like it. I'm not sure if I like the bar for during runs because it feels weird to "eat" something while I'm running, but I know it's a great "combination of energizing complex carbohydrates and a blend of protein to give you longer-burning energy to get you through the toughest workouts". Just have to work myself into trying it more during long runs and getting over the "eating" factor. I did try the acai-berry also and it's okay, but mocha wins in my book!
Endurance Gel: Love this product. So this is a healthy vegan version of energy gels that many runners use during longer runs. So instead of "gu" or "clif-shot" or one of those non vegan gels, here's a great answer for vegans or anyone who wants a high quality energy gel. Two flavors - orange zest (my favorite) and raspberry. I like the idea of this because it's easy to just squeeze some in your mouth and it sits well in my stomach and no chewing is required!
Recovery Accelerator: Great product, I use it after every run or hard workout to make sure my muscles and the rest of my body get what they need to start the recovery process. I like this one so much and think it's so important I had to copy the product info.
- Replenish energy and electrolytes
- Reduce inflammation, muscle and joint pain
- Support immune system function and protein synthesis
- Reduce recovery time between training
And no, I don't work for Vega! :)